Part of the fun of getting involved in bookbinding, is learning about all the arcane and wonderful tools there are, along with their myriad applications. One such tool is the japanese hole punch. Brilliantly designed so that you don't have to get blisters from the regular manual version, the japanese hole punch works on a spring system, so that all you have to do is position it over the paper, binders board or chosen material, and press lightly on the mechanism. Most versions also come with a variety of drill bit sizes, and while the modular kind is more expensive than purchasing a flat out 1/4" gauge for instance, it's worth it. This is a really useful tool for a variety of bindings, including aluminum screw posts (the purported easiest way to 'bind' a book), punching holes in stacks of paper, leather, and even cork board; plus it's handy in decorating, in addition to function.
I used mine recently to create some texture and visual interest on a book cover. I traced and cut two sheets of decorative paper, and punched holes in one of them from the inside out, so each hole had a tiny paper rim. Next, I bound the sheets, one on top of the other, to create the layered effect. I also used ash (from the back of my fireplace) to shade the openings, and highlight the outlines.
I ordered my japanese hole punch online from Hollanders for $65, but a good hunt could probably elicit more package options, additional drill bits, and competitive prices.